- Museum number
Calumny of Apelles; to right sits a king with large ears, Ignorance and Suspicion stand nearby, approaching are Calumny with a flaming torch, Innocence, Envy, Guile and Deceit, to left are Repentance and Truth. c.1565
Pen and brown ink with brown wash, on brown prepared paper
- Production date
- 1565-1569 (c.)
Height: 202 millimetres
Width: 306 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Literature: First published by Christopher White, in The Burlington Magazine 101 (1959), pp.336-41; M. Winner, in 'Pieter Breughel d. Ä. als Zeichner', exh.cat. Kupferstichkabinett Berlin, 1975, cat.no.98; H. Mielke, 'Pieter Bruegel. Die Zeichnungen', 1996, cat.no.63; Nadine M. Orenstein (ed.), 'Pieter Bruegel the Elder: Drawings and Prints', exhibition catalogue, The Metropolitan Museum of Arts New York and Museum Boijmans van Beuningen Rotterdam, cat.no.104; E. Michel, 'Pieter Bruegel: Drawing the World', exhibition catalogue, Albertina, Vienna, fig. 3, p. 204 (reproduced not exhibited).
Label text (2003): Many artists attempted to reconstruct a famous painting by the 5th-4th century BC Greek artist, Apelles, that was described by the Syrian-Greek author Lucian. King Ptolomy accused Apelles of conspiracy, prompted by Apelles' rival, the painter Antiphilus. The episode was allegorized by Apelles, with figures representing Suspicion and Ignorance by the King, as Calumny, accompanied by Deceit and Guile and dragging Innocence by the hair, is led forward by Envy. Truth and Repentance complete the scene. Bruegel's drawings are often sophisticated in their iconography but this is the only time he drew inspiration directly from a classical theme.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1973, BM, Netherlandish prints and drawings (no cat.)
1975, Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, 'Pieter Bruegel als Zeichner' cat. no. 98
1994, BM, 'The Study of Italian Drawings', no.73
2001, May-Aug, Rotterdam, Boijmans Mus. 'Pieter Bruegel the Elder'
2001, Sept-Dec, New York, Metropolitan Mus. Art, 'Pieter Bruegel the Elder' no.104
2003/4 Oct-Jan, London, Hayward Gallery, 'Saved! 100 Years of the National Art Collections Fund', no.102
2018 23 Mar-24 Jun, Belgium, Mechelen, Museum Hof van Busleyden, The Call for Justice
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- This item has an uncertain or incomplete provenance for the years 1933-45. The British Museum welcomes information and assistance in the investigation and clarification of the provenance of all works during that era.
See the report to the Trustees of 29 January 1959. The drawing was included in a bundle at the beginning of the Sotheby sale, where it was recognised by Philip Pouncey. Hans Calmann also recognised it, and bid up Colnaghi's who were acting without a formal commission as there had been no time to line up the funding. After the sale Colnaghi (in the person of James Byam Shaw) offered the drawing to the BM for a 10% commission.
According to Richard Day, who worked at Sotheby's in 1959, the drawing was sent to auction by Lt Col R.S. Symmonds, who owned a number of other drawings and prints (telephone conversation, 26 July 2006).
This drawing was checked against the Art Loss Register (3 July 2013; ref.no.S00076091; the certificate is kept with the file).
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number